Christians and Controversy

Steven Furtick of the Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC posted this today about controversy (link):

“I told our team the other day:
We’ve got to become more comfortable with controversy!

We’ve learned how to tolerate it and move past it.  Now it’s time for us to learn to view it as a gift, and use it to our advantage.  Controversy is a sign of progress.  Controversy is a sign of impact.  Controversy is a precursor to promotion.  And a training ground for greater things.

If you want to be like Christ, expect controversy.
And when it comes, don’t fight it.  Ride it.  Pray through it.  Learn from it. Celebrate it.
And watch God use it to elevate you to your next level.”

I have mixed feelings about that. I think I get what he is saying – when we are really living for Jesus that there will always be people who don’t agree with us and that can cause controversy. At the same time these words don’t settle well with me. As soon as I feel like I buy it I don’t really want to fully embrace it. I guess I feel I am most effective in the lives of individuals when I am not stirring up controversy. In Churches of Christ the types of controversies we have stirred have sometimes not been the best things to stir up controversy over. So I have that baggage too. Any thoughts?

0 Responses to Christians and Controversy

  1. Philip III says:

    A class in conflict management that I took at HU made me a whole lot more comfortable with controversy. And the way “conflict” was defined was “a struggle over differences.” That comfort level has been sort of a blessing and a curse, however. While I’ve felt more in control in those types of situations, I’ve come to find that when I’ve applied the skills I’ve learned from that class people perceive me much differently. And it seems to me it’s mainly because, as you aptly expressed, most folks are not as comfortable with controversy being stirred up.

    Seems like there should definitely be elements of conflict in our life. Jesus didn’t just happen upon conflict with the Pharisees — there were some moments where HE actually picked the fight! Still, Jesus wasn’t an antagonistic person always looking for a fight, as he also talked about peace. It seems like Jesus demonstrated discernment in wisely choosing which battles to fight & which ones to not engage. We should do likewise. If we’re a kind of people that are ALWAYS picking fights about every little thing, I doubt we’ll end up doing much good.

    Generally, though, I think he’s right: we do need to become more comfortable with the idea of controversy in our lives. The title of the manual my professor gave me for that conflict class really summarizes the struggle well: “Fighting for Peaceful Fighting.”

  2. maji6 says:

    perosnally I think its better not to Look for controversy or create controvery. If it happens ..ride it and try to dispell it.

  3. Tim Archer says:

    I agree with the thought that if we are truly doing something, there will be some controversy. Sleeping dogs want to be let lie. Change brings conflict, to some degree, and if we aren’t changing at all, we’re not growing.

    What I can’t fully buy is the “embrace it and celebrate it” idea. I would say “don’t fear it” and “don’t panic over it,” but at the same time, we have to be sensitive to those who are feeling a disruption in their lives, especially their spiritual lives.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  4. weswoodell says:

    I don’t believe we should seek it out or revel in it, but I don’t believe we should fear it either.

  5. Terry says:

    I would rather not stir up controversy. However, simply following Jesus will stir up controversy sometimes. In those times, I would rather follow Jesus despite the difficulties of dealing with controversy and criticism.

  6. Jordan says:

    My question from this is what are some techniques or methods for controlling yourself during a controversy? The non-church issue that I will use is politics. Some people can’t talk about them without getting super riled up and flustered. I know that there are issues that have at least that much controversy in the church and probably even more. Are there good exercises for learning to keep a level head in those situations so I or others are most effective?

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